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The Swiss chess system: rules, advantages and disadvantages
The Swiss chess system: rules, advantages and disadvantages

What is "chess"? Answering this question, they often say: "It's simple! Chess is a board game." People who are more immersed and more familiar with intellectual entertainment may say that chess is an art. And it is. Elegant combinations that amaze even non-professionals; complex positional plans, showing the enormous interest of the players in winning, etc. - all of the above and implied proves the unchildish depth of chess.

But the Russian Chess Federation can help you find another answer to your question.

In the XXI century, in the century of industrialization, the need for thinking people has increased. The ability to analyze the situation, anticipate the consequences of opponents and solve problems in cold blood have become the main characteristics of a person who is able to do his job well or evenopen your own business or business. These qualities can be developed by such a "simple game" as chess. Thanks to this, chess began to develop rapidly and everywhere.

The excitement of the game has increased. We started to hold a large number of tournaments. Competitions began to be divided into "elite", "for all" and "for beginners". The prize fund has increased several times, and people began to earn money by playing and winning. Now, asking the question of what is chess, you can get a new answer: "sport".

In this article you will learn about the system of chess competitions, and specifically about the Swiss one.

Historical background

Fun facts:

  • The first Swiss chess tournament was held in Switzerland, more specifically in Zurich in 1895.
  • The Swiss system is usually used in mind games. For example, checkers, go, shogi, etc.
Chess tournament

Types of systems

Probably, it is worth saying at least a few words about the main tournament systems approved by the Russian Chess Federation:

  • Circular. The idea is that in a tournament with a relatively small amount, each player must play each player during the championship to determine the strongest chess player.
  • Match. The form of such a competition is very simple: two players (or two teams) play against each other.
  • Knockout system. Playoff variant, taking into account the peculiarities of chess. Players play multiple games with a guaranteed non-drawresult.
  • The Swiss system is very common in chess. A non-elimination tournament and, starting from the second round, pairs are distributed according to the number of points, i.e.: "The boy Vasya with 3 points after six rounds will not meet with the girl Olya, who has 6 points. Vasily can play with a player with the same number points." Of course, there are exceptions.


When looking at announcements of tournaments in a chess club in your city, you probably often saw a sign like "Chess tournament in 9 rounds in the Swiss system. Come …". Why? Why is it so rare to have "crotchies" or some other competition in another system of the device? Let's try to figure it out together. Note the advantages of the Swiss system in chess:

  1. Experience and emotions. At all small scale tournaments people come for experience or positive feelings. Just don't get angry! Yes, if you come to the tournament in the "match" format, you will also gain experience. But it is worth focusing at this point on the knockout system. Suppose you are a beginner or amateur chess player, you got an opponent stronger than you, you lost. For you, this tournament has already been lost (in terms of results).
  2. Second chance. Again, a comparison with the knockout system. After losing 2-3 rounds, but winning all the rest, you can even take a prize (depending on the composition of the tournament: dense or the strength of the players is quite different).
  3. Number of tours. Usually there are 9 games in the Swiss system, maximum 11, for example in a blitz tournament. While inthe round-robin principle of holding competitions can be 15, or vice versa, only 5. It all depends on the number of people. But it seems to us that 9 rounds is the best option. And not too tired, and managed to break out.
  4. Equal opponents (don't forget that opponents are selected by points). An equally important fact for the productive study of chess is that you learn from losses, and winnings do not let the desire to play cool down.
white pieces

System flaws

"If this system is so perfect, why do other kinds of tournaments?" - you ask. The Russian Chess Federation cannot foresee everything. The rules of the Swiss system in chess have their drawbacks, which we will also note now:

  1. Unexpected twists and excitement. A chess match is not considered a match if there were no unpredictable games in it. The strongest outplayed the mid-level, etc. News of this type is always exciting. But due to pairing on points, this is almost impossible. Unless, of course, this "mid-level" one does not "mow down" the entire tournament.
  2. Bue, or pluses - a point without a game. In the Swiss system, if there is an odd number of players in the entire competition - the player who occupies the last place in any round receives a unit in the table due to the lack of an opponent.
  3. Predictability with "motley" composition. By "diversity" we meant the strength of the players. If in the tournament half are strong and the other half are weak, then the first part of the results of the competitioneasy to predict.
black pieces

The principle of holding a Swiss chess tournament

Do you like to play tournaments? How are they doing?

In order to draw lots in the Swiss system in chess, special computer programs are used. Let's look at the pairing mechanism for tournament games. The only condition for our "theorem" will be the presence of an even number of participants in the competition for easier understanding.

  1. The starting list is being compiled by rating. If the tournament is not so official, then in random order or alphabetically.
  2. The distribution of pairs for the first round is underway. This stage goes like this: the list is divided into two equal parts, and the first from the first half plays with the first from the second. Suppose our tournament includes 30 participants. Then the 1st plays with the 16th, the 2nd with the 17th, etc.
  3. In order to draw lots for the second round, the initial list is updated depending on the result of the game.
  4. The procedure number 2 is repeated this time as well.
  5. The cycle goes as many times as there should be rounds.
Battlefield battle

Rules of the game. Core Principles

For a fair fight in the Swiss system, there are limitations in the possibilities of meetings.

  1. Opponents cannot play two or more games in one tournament.
  2. The color of the figures must alternate. There are cases when a color is "broken" and a player plays, for example, two games in a row with White.
  3. Whenthe absence of a player even after the allotted time by the organizers in case of being late, his opponent gets a point.
Reach the top


Places in Swiss chess competitions are distributed according to points scored. But what to do when sharing (several players have the same number of points)? In such a case, one should look at the position of the tournament, where the importance of the factors is described. We include the result of a personal meeting and the player's Buchholz coefficient as factors. It consists of the sum of all the points of the opponents with whom the participant played, regardless of the result of the meetings between them.

Feeling of victory

We hope this article helped you and you found what you were looking for. Happy gaming!

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